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Family background; early interest in physics; chance meeting with Enrico Fermi in youth and early friendship with Emilio Segrè; enrolling in physics at University of Rome; recollections of Orso M.
This interview is part of a small program to document the recent history of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). These interviews were used as background studies to help authors of chapters of the centennial history volume of the Society research and organize documentary materials. The volume to be published in 1999. This interview discusses Rubin's family background and years at Vassar; working at Naval Research Laboratory; influence of Richard Feynman on her studies at Cornell; teaching, observational work and spectroscopy at Georgetown; AAS meetings.
Slater leaves Harvard University for Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930 (Karl Compton) to build up Physics Department there; work on quantum electrodynamics. Growth of MIT Physics Department in the 1930s and 1940s, relations between experimentalists and theorists; discussion of works and publications during the 1930s. Changes in U.S. physics; overview of post-World War II physics to 1951, and reasons for establishing own research group; establishment of the Radiation Lab, 1940; magnetron work; Bell Labs visits, 1941-1942 and 1943-1945.
Childhood in New York City; studying astronomy and literature at Harvard (1925-1929, M.A. 1930); work during the Depression in real estate and at Columbia; graduate-education in the new astrophysics at Harvard (1934-1937), contacts with H. Shapley, C. Payne, H.N. Russell; work at Yerkes from 1937: nebula spectroscopy, stellar composition, stellar atmospheres; contacts with 0. Struve, S. Chandrasekhar, B. Stromgren; optical design work during World War II. Move to Cal Tech, 1947, contacts with W. Baade, I. Bowen, F. Zwicky, N. Schmidt, L.
Early education and exposure to field; attends Duke University; graduate work at California Institute of Technology; Caltech environment; work with Smythe; develops interest in spectroscopy. Accepts position at Bell Laboratories; shift from research to engineering; attempts to pursuade Bell Labs to become involved in microwave spectroscopy. Impact of war on development of spectroscopy and physics in general. Interest in astronomy. Accepts I. I. Rabi's job offer at Columbia; work conditions at Columbia versus Bell Labs.